Last Updated on December 9, 2019
The causes and treatment of a dental implant infection can be as complicated as they are common.
Referred to as peri-implantitis by dentists, dental implant infections are characterized by swelling of the tissues surrounding the area where a dental implant has been inserted into your mouth.
While the causes and treatment of a dental implant infection are well known by dentists, peri-implantitis can lead to bone loss if not treated quickly.
Dental implant infection is always caused by bacteria
When reviewing the causes and treatment of a dental implant infection it is important to remember that they are nearly always caused by bacteria during or immediately after the surgery to insert the implant. This means that maintaining hygiene in the dentist’s surgery will stop nearly all of these infections from occurring.
Dental implant infections can be caused by inadequate sterilization of tools by dental staff, poor quality implants that don’t fill the gap and allow bacteria to enter and incorrect placement of the implant by the dentist which can also leave a space between it and the bone. A crown put over a dental implant that is oversized or has an abnormal contour can also lead to inflammation and infection.
So far in discussing the causes and treatment of dental implant infection, we have looked at the situation inside the dentist’s surgery.
However, these infections can also be caused by the patient themselves if they do not follow the dentist’s advice on oral hygiene after surgery. Your dentist will normally recommend that you use an antibacterial mouthwash as well as brushing and flossing at least daily.
Smoking should be avoided after dental implant surgery as tar on the teeth can trigger an infection around the implant as well as plaque build-up.
Common phenomenons of infection
Among the most common symptoms of an infected dental implant is swelling of the surrounding tissues. This is a response by your body’s immune system to the infection and can lead to bone loss around the implant if untreated.
Reduce the risk of infection
Taking antibiotics for a few days before surgery can help reduce the risk of a dental implant infection as can regular x-rays afterward. If a dental implant infection is caused by poor oral hygiene, brushing and flossing will normally clear it up. On the other hand, with those caused by a loose implant the only way to stop the infection and prevent further damage to the jawbone is to remove it.